Over the past few weeks in worship we’ve been following the gospel lectionary texts and looking at Jesus and his message from the perspectives of those who lived life on the margins of society…left out…in a sermon series called On the Margins. Every week at the end of worship we’re presented with a discipleship challenge for the week. One week I invited folks to think about Luke 9:51-62, which is about the cost of following Jesus, and share any thoughts that come to mind.
This reply came my way from Chuck Andreatta, Calvary member and Jesus follower. It’s shared here with his permission:
I see Jesus’ rebuking of James and John when they asked Him if He wanted them to call fire down from heaven and destroy the Samaritan village as an act of mercy since they didn’t have the power to do it anyway and would only have embarrassed themselves. Jesus actually should have told them to go ahead so He could have had a good laugh watching them try.
In the rest of the passage about the high cost of following Jesus, the writer of Luke is using exaggerated examples to demonstrate that this path is indeed not an easy one.
I say the examples are exaggerated because I doubt that Jesus would really expect folks to neglect their family obligations so they could be a follower of Christ. I certainly take the view that it’s a Christian thing for people to meet their obligations to their family although I still seem to only be doing so with varying degrees of success.
Overall, the New Testament does not seem to be particularly family friendly to me, at least the parts I’ve read. Still, I accept the writer of Luke’s point—the Kingdom of Heaven is available any time one chooses to accept it, so why not get on with it?
Everyone needs to figure out how to do that in their own way, however. Maybe it was easier back then when everyone but the rulers were just scratching out a living. I wonder what choices Jesus would make if he were alive today (the old “What would Jesus do” question)?
For example, if He somehow saved enough money to take a decent vacation, would He just do a staycation instead and give the money He would have spent to the poor? Quite possibly, I guess.
But would He have completely forgone any experiences of the finer things in life if they cost a little extra money? It probably would have been a balancing act for Jesus like it is for everyone else (except for the monks and nuns who take vows of extreme poverty).
This was a new passage for me so I’m glad Pastor Amy preached on it. And I’m glad to have a community of faith to explore these kinds of questions with, since I otherwise live in a very secular world.